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Barcelona's electronic music festival Sonar breaks all records in its 20th anniversary edition

With the Pet Shop Boys, Kraftwerk, 2 ManyDJs, Jurassic 5 and Laurent Garnier as guaranteed crowd pullers, the 20th edition of the Sonar Festival was a success waiting to happen. But the record-breaking attendance figures and the smooth transition from downtown Barcelona to the Fira de Barcelona’s Montjuic venue went way beyond organisers’ expectations. More than 121,000 festival-goers attended the electronic music event, which represents a 24% compared to last year’s figures. Furthermore, around 55% of the attendees were foreigners, with a great presence of people from the United Kingdom, France and Italy, but also from the United States, Australia, Russia and many other countries.

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17 June 2013 10:38 PM

by

Ruth Rodríguez / Christopher D. Tulloch

Barcelona (CNA).- With the Pet Shop Boys, Kraftwerk, 2 ManyDJs, Jurassic 5 and Laurent Garnier as guaranteed crowd pullers, the 20th edition of the Sonar Festival was a success waiting to happen. But the record-breaking attendance figures and the smooth transition from downtown Barcelona to the Fira de Barcelona\u2019s Montjuic venue went way beyond organisers\u2019 expectations. More than 121,000 festival-goers attended the electronic music event, which represents a 24% compared to last year\u2019s figures. Furthermore, around 55% of the attendees were foreigners, with a great presence of people from the United Kingdom, France and Italy, but also from the United States, Australia, Russia and many other countries.


German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk put in a spectacular 3D performance and as always the static aesthetics of the group were compensated for by the powerful screened images and above all by the response of a dedicated crowd who thrilled to the sound of classic themes like \u201CVitamin\u201D, \u201CAutobahn\u201D o \u201CComputer World\u201D. The Kraftwerk show was eagerly awaited for this edition of Sonar although it was not a new performance as the band had already used similar reflective suits and images at the Tate Modern in London and the Moma in New York. The SonarClub (in Fira de Barcelona\u2019s Gran Via venue) was the perfect scenario for the battery of machines which make up their show and constitute an electronic symphony that remains relevant in 2013.

The Kraftwerk crowd remained rooted to the spot until the end of the show when they streamed towards the SonarLab stage to take in the sounds of American-Chilean artist Nicolas Jaar, who returned to Sonar for the third year running. The minimalist tones of Jaar take on extra strength live and connected with the public right from the start. The SonarPub stage, totally reworked this year, did not attract a large crowd to enjoy Bat for Lashes, as the group overlapped with Kraftwerk. The Irish band Two Door Cinema Club only convinced their diehard fans, who sang all their hit numbers and danced without respite.

In the early hours of Saturday morning the Club stage took over the Festival as the musical Project run by DJ Diplo and Major Lazer showed once again the effectiveness of their musical formula. Major Lazer convinced the Sonar crowd in the same way he had done so this year at the Lollapalooza Festival in Chile sending the crowd wild with tracks as diverse as \u201CGet Free\u201D or his particular version of \u201CSuavemente\u201D. 

At four in the morning those Sonar-goers with enough energy moved to the Club stage. A countdown projected on to huge screens warmed up the crowd to enjoy the best ambassador of dubstep in recent years: Skrillex. The young Californian star just five years older than the Sonar festival itself appeared on stage in a FC Barcelona shirt and dedicated the first few minutes of the show to the team and the city. Images of the city were projected on to the screens while fans listened to Skrillex\u2019s classic track \u201CBarcelona\u201D. The city was anxious to hear Skrillex live and the artist seemed thrilled to form part of the Festival line up and to be on the same stage as his beloved Aphex Twin back in Sonar 2011.

Saturday was just as good as both Thursday and Friday nights and by this time it was clear that the Sonar crowd would break the 120,000 barrier on its 20th anniversary. Local DJ Angel Molina took on the challenge of warming up the crowd for headline act Pet Shop Boys and Californian hip hop group Jurassic 5 who stole the show. Messrs Tennant and Lowe put on a great show and took the brave step of opening and closing their performance with tracks from next month\u2019s new album Electric.

The Jurassic 5 boomed out to diehard and newfound fans alike for well over an hour while in the Sonar Car the Delorean filled their venue. Classic Belgian act 2 ManyDJs worked their faithful inside out at the SonarPub while Sonar veteran Laurent Garnie brought the sun up on Sunday morning at the end of a marathon night.

Over 121,000 visitors, a new venue and perfect weather conditions: 2013 Sonar Barcelona came, saw and conquered.

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  • The Sonar Village stage, at Fira de Barcelona's Montjuic venue (by P. Francesch)

  • Kraftwerk put in a spectacular 3D performance (by P. Cortina)

  • The Sonar Village stage, at Fira de Barcelona's Montjuic venue (by P. Francesch)
  • Kraftwerk put in a spectacular 3D performance (by P. Cortina)